Values are, or they should be, at the very center of any business. They dictate your customer relationships, your employee selection processes, and every element of your business strategy. Now that we have so much knowledge about our carbon footprint and the many ways in which we’re harming the environment, there’s no excuse for companies today to stay silent. Nobody can be Switzerland in the face of the climate crisis.
For that and many other reasons, businesses are now striving to change inside and out, to recognize the crisis and their part in contributing to environmental damage, and above all, to make a difference. Embracing that responsibility starts with how you manage your business from within, so that your HR and business management experts can create and slowly implement smarter, greener strategies.
This process can take a while, since the shift is far from simple for many industries. Here are a few ways to make this transformation easier on your business and to lead the way in eco-friendly management.
Align your goals and procedures
First and foremost, for your HR department to be able to work on implementation, you need to determine how well your current processes match your sustainability goals. Perhaps you’ll need to switch to digital accounting tools and go paperless, if you haven’t already. Maybe you can adapt your collaboration model to be more flexible and encourage remote work, carpooling, covering public transport fees, and the like.
For many companies, your health and wellness strategies will need to change in order to meet these new standards, too. Some businesses dealing with toxic or dangerous substances need to introduce more stringent protective procedures to ensure employee safety and to prevent environmental damage or hazards. It all begins with aligning your procedures with the goals you want to achieve.
Choose better waste management
In Australia’s most developed, urbanized regions, growing companies often have trouble dealing with waste in its many forms. From energy and water waste on the premises if you have an office, all the way to all kinds of material waste if you have a construction site, rapidly growing companies need to develop better waste management solutions to match their industry’s needs.
For instance, effective waste management in Australia often means utilizing dedicated waste management equipment as well as procedures. On-site crushers and balers, recycling stations, and many other waste processing tools allow employees and business owners to reduce waste and empower reuse and recycling. Wherever your business might be, it’s crucial to follow this mindset and find efficient ways to reduce waste at every turn.
Employee motivation and training
Most workers will choose your business over others with equally appealing offers precisely because of your values. However, you also need to live up to those promises and standards you present to them in your job ads, which often means motivating your employees through regular and consistent training opportunities.
This is a chance for them to grow as professionals, giving them immediate value, but it also helps them become a better, more cohesive team working towards the same goals. Training in better, eco-friendly office practices can make your business far more sustainable over time.
Ongoing assessment and adaptation
Surely, if you’re based in a highly developed region like Australia or New Zealand, you’re most likely responsible before your community, but also before your government when it comes to your sustainability initiatives. There are certain location-specific standards you need to meet and possibly exceed.
To learn whether or not your business is in line with those expectations and standards, you need to be in the loop. For starters, organize regular quarterly assessments to evaluate how well you’re doing with your goals. Your HR managers can then present the results to the employees so that they can together come up with additional ways to change for the better.
Perhaps you can implement greener office design solutions, switch to LED lights, introduce more recycling stations, or even compost stations for food leftovers. Of course, you’ll also need expert legal advice on how to move forward and implement government-approved methods to go green.
Know who your partners are
Choosing your employees with care is one way to go about implementing sustainable practices and building value-based relationships. On the other end of this spectrum of bonds, you have your partners, who should be aligned with your values, too. Do your marketing partners, manufacturers, suppliers, or any other vendors take sustainability seriously? What are they doing differently from others in their niche to make your relationship rooted in shared care for our planet?
So many businesses have hidden policies with harmful effects on the environment. It’s essential to weed out the ones that don’t meet your criteria and start working with those who care as much as you do. Turning a blind eye is not an option, since the world is brimming with experts whose goals are the same as yours – you’ll just need to take your time to find them.
Sustainability isn’t a linear path, nor is it a one-time goal that you accomplish, and leave be. It’s a continuous learning curve that requires flexibility in how you manage your business and your relationships. It starts with training, equipment, and policies, but it never truly ends: the moment you set your foot on the path to sustainability, that’s the moment your business will need to learn how to succeed in the face of constant change.
Embrace innovation and emerging technology in your industry, hear your employees out whenever you can, and you’ll soon have a growing green strategy that will help you reposition your business towards smarter, more sustainable goals.